Most ministries at Hillsdale NJ UMC simply require that you attend a meeting or two, and help out when you can. The Public Theology Ministry will be a little different. We are asking everyone – yes, EVERYONE – in our congregation ... members, frequent visitors, and the newly arrived ... to participate in some Public Theology activity in 2015. That can be as simple as a prayer for guidance in our efforts, or as intense as attending a town meeting or participating in a protest.
I am confident we will achieve this goal. I have faith!
But Hillsdale NJ UMC also needs a core team to help me design our projects, coordinate our efforts, and help engage the congregation and the community. This team of 3-5 individuals should be made up of a wide variety of thinkers – wide variety of abilities and spiritual gifts – to be effective. And this team must be grounded in their faith and commitment to living the Gospel beyond our church walls.
I am proposing a Public Theology Ministry core team covenant. Each core team member will pledge to each other and to our church to:
- Attend weekly worship service at our church or elsewhere. If that is not possible, the core team member will at least watch the sermon online.
- Read and pray on scripture daily. This can be done simply by opening the Bible and choosing a passage, then meditating upon it. Or by using a daily devotional of choice, such as The Upper Room at devotional.upperroom.org
- Actively participate in meetings, listen and respond, and bring fresh ideas.
- Actively research projects and opportunities.
Respect and encourage and involve the whole congregation and as much of our local community and other religious organizations as possible ... encouraging a wide spectrum of involvement from prayer-to-petition-to-forum-to-education-to-protest and beyond.
You may ask, “Why have a core team covenant?” and the answer is simple. Daily prayer, daily scripture reading, and weekly worship help us to remain grounded in our faith. People become more receptive to the guidance of the Spirit when they take even 5 minutes at the start or end of their day to pray and reflect, and spend at least 20 minutes on a Sunday to listen to a message through the weekly sermon. Gathering in worship of our God keeps us humble in the presence of the Lord, and provides an opportunity to relate to other people and to better understand other points of view. And active participation, research, and respect are key to the success of any team.
So, please consider joining me as a core team member. Talk with me about your thoughts, ideas, even concerns. Let’s make a difference in this world, together.
In Christ’s Peace, Lisa Schoelles